In my posting last week, I mentioned my first time traveling in Egypt in 2008. Lauren and I took a two-week tour in 2008, and it was a spectacular way to see a lot of sites in a short amount of time. All accommodation, transportation, and some activities were planned for us, however there was still a lot of flexibility to take part in activities of our choice. Yet even with those options, our guide still arranged everything for us so it was pretty hassle free. I had a wonderful group of people on our tour, and for the most part, we chose to do everything together. But before I get into all of the wonderful sites to explore in Egypt, I should mention how I ended up with a scandalous swimsuit and other odd articles of clothing.
My first flight from Louisville to Atlanta was late. It was nervewracking because I was supposed to meet Lauren in Atlanta so we could fly together to Cairo via Europe. I think I only had like an hour layover in Atlanta and assumed that since Louisville isn’t that far from Atlanta it wouldn’t be a problem. Wrong! I landed in Atlanta, ran all the way to my gate just to be told that they had already closed the boarding door and I had missed it. It was so frustrating because the plane was still at the gate, and I later found out there was a delay and they sat on the runway for almost an hour. Oh and um, I should mention that I was the one that had researched the taxis and how to get from the airport in Egypt to the hotel, so I had officially left Lauren stranded to figure it out.
I sat in Atlanta for six long hours, waiting to catch a flight to Paris. SIX hours. That also meant that my luggage had the same six hours to make its way on my next flight to Paris. I got into Cairo that night and waited until every last piece of luggage had been taken off the carousel at the airport. I went to the airline help desk and after a few minutes was told that my luggage was still sitting in Atlanta!! Lovely. Thankfully, I had packed one change of clothes in my carry-on, so after making it to the hotel, I hand-washed what I was wearing so that if my luggage did not make it by the following day, I had something to rotate in my meager wardrobe. Lauren and the rest of the group were at dinner, so I showered and climbed into bed. We spent the following day in Cairo (post to come) and took an overnight train to Aswan… without my luggage. Luckily, my tour guide handled everything once I arrived and was in contact with the airlines. HUGE perk of being on a tour. Since I had travel insurance, I had about $200 to buy clothing and such to use until my luggage arrived. We were going to be sleeping on a felucca on the Nile for the next couple of days and I needed a swimsuit. I also needed a couple more pieces of clothing.
In search of clothing…
While Aswan is a tourist hub to get to Abu Simbel and to find felucca tours on the Nile, it’s not exactly a place you can find a swimsuit easily. My guide asked around in town for where we could buy a swimsuit, and after checking a few shops, we finally found a place that claimed to have some. I was willing to settle for virtually anything (well maybe except for a burkini) and assumed I would find a very modest, old lady swimsuit. I. Was. So. Wrong. We went into this tiny shop that claimed to have swimsuits. The very young and beautiful (and modest!) saleswoman, eagerly pulled out a box from a shelf that held only skimpy string bikinis. In really tiny sizes. I had a choice of lime green and bright blue. I chose the lime green, knowing that I’d have to wear clothing over it regardless. It at least had hieroglyph details on it so it would make a great souvenir to give my size 0 friend back home. Then we moved on to shirts, and I got knock-off Puma and Giorgio Armani tshirts. I next asked for shorts… you know to put on over that bikini- they gave me electric blue leggings. Socks? Yellow toe socks, of course. And finally, when I asked for underwear, I was given little girl’s underwear. I swear, I don’t know how I happened upon a shop that had the weirdest things I never expected to find in Aswan.
So I left the shop in Aswan with:
1 Lime Green Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Egyptian Bikini
1 fake Puma shirt
1 fake Giorgio Armani shirt
1 pair of electric blue spandex leggings (that have since been very useful for 80s and jazzercise Halloween costumes)
1 pair of yellow toe socks
3 pairs of girls’ underwear
I later hit up the market with Lauren and bought sandals and some scarves and another tee. I asked all of the market vendors to write a receipt for me to turn into the insurance company, which they scrawled in Arabic on a scrap piece of paper and I noted the English translation.
My second day in Aswan, I found my luggage waiting for me at the hotel when we returned from Abu Simbel. I’ve never been so happy to have underwear that fit me, a swimsuit that had five times as much coverage, and socks that didn’t go between my toes!